Aliyah Boston of South Carolina and Caitlin Clark of Iowa were unanimous picks for The Associated Press preseason women’s basketball All-America team released Tuesday.
Boston led South Carolina to its second national championship and swept nearly every major award last season. Expectations are high once again for the top-ranked Gamecocks and Boston, who was on all 30 ballots from the national media panel that selects the AP Top 25 each week.
“I don’t think all the awards define who she is but also puts her in a position of she’s in a more relaxed mode because she accomplished those things. She’s still in a place of hunger,” South Carolina coach Dawn Staley said. “She still wants to be the best. When you’ve proven that at such an early stage of your career, you want more and more. She’s entered a phase of wanting more yet is confident in who she is, since she was able to accomplish it.”
Seniors Haley Jones of Stanford, Ashley Joens of Iowa State and Elizabeth Kitley of Virginia Tech were also selected for the team, as was sophomore Aneesah Morrow of DePaul.
Boston, who averaged 16.8 points and 12.4 rebounds, and Clark were both on the preseason team last year. Clark followed up a fantastic first season with an even better one as a sophomore, averaging 27 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists for the Hawkeyes, who are ranked fourth in the preseason poll for their best mark since 1994.
“She worked on a little bit more emotional control in her leadership. I think that’s really important,” Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said. “You want those officials to be your best friends let’s treat them like that.”
Bluder also said Clark has added some post moves to her game: “That may sound silly with Monika [Czinano] on the block. She’s almost 5-foot-10 and no reason she can’t post up. She’s looking for that a lot more.”
Joens opted to stay at Iowa State for another year, passing up a chance to enter the WNBA draft. She averaged 20.3 points and 9.5 rebounds last season and is the first preseason All-American in school history.
“This is a great honor for Ashley and the entire Iowa State program,” coach Bill Fennelly said. “To be recognized with such a great group of players is an outstanding accomplishment. I know she will continue to work hard to play at an All-American level this season.”
Jones helped Stanford go 32-4 before falling to UConn in the Final Four. She averaged 13.2 points, 7.9 rebounds and 3.7 assists for the Cardinal. Last season, coach Tara VanDerveer called her star the “Magic Johnson of women’s basketball.”
Kitley had a stellar year, averaging 18.1 points and 9.8 rebounds for the Hokies. Her return is a big reason why the team is ranked No. 13 in the preseason, its best mark since the final poll of 1999 when the school was also 13th.
She is the first player from the school to be honored as a preseason All-American.
“She’s the hardest working kid I’ve been around,” Virginia Tech coach Kenny Brooks said. ‘If she doesn’t do something, she has FOMO [fear of missing out]. She’s added so much to her game to make us the best we can be. My responsibility is to prepare her for the next level.”
Morrow had an incredible first season, averaging 21.9 points and 13.5 rebounds for the Blue Demons. She is the first DePaul player to earn preseason honors since Latasha Byears did it in 1995.
“She earns it through her daily work ethic and competitiveness,” DePaul coach Doug Bruno said of Morrow.
All six players were honored last spring on the AP All-America teams. Boston, Clark and Jones were on the first team while Joens and Morrow were on the second. Kitley made the third team.
The AP started choosing a preseason All-America team before the 1994-95 season.
The Associated Press’ 2022-23 preseason All-America women’s basketball team, with school, height, year and votes from a 30-member national media panel (key 2021-22 statistics in parentheses):
Aliyah Boston, South Carolina, 6-5, senior, 30 of 30 votes (16.8 ppg, 12.5 rpg, 2.4 bpg.)
Caitlin Clark, Iowa, 6-0, junior, 30 of 30 votes (27.0 ppg, 8.0 apg, 8.0 rpg)
Haley Jones, Stanford, 6-1, senior 28 of 30 votes (13.2 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 3.7 apg)
Ashley Joens, Iowa State, 6-1, senior, 24 of 30 votes (20.3 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 2.0 apg)
Elizabeth Kitley, Virginia Tech, 6-6, senior, 9 of 30 votes (18.1 ppg, 9.8 rpg, 2.4 bpg)
Aneesah Morrow, DePaul, 6-1, sophomore, 9 of 30 votes (21.9 ppg, 13.5 rpg, 3.0 spg)
OTHERS RECEIVING VOTES:
Cameron Brink, Stanford; Rori Harmon, Texas; Hailey Van Lith, Louisville; Olivia Miles, Notre Dame; Angel Reese, LSU; Maddy Siegrist, Villanova; Azzi Fudd, UConn; Jade Loville, Arizona State; Jordan Horston, Tennessee; Deja Kelly, North Carolina; Tamari Key, Tennessee.